About the Program

The University of Nebraska's School of Art, Art History & Design provides a unique and intimate environment for your study of photography. Class sizes are small with individual attention that fosters technical and conceptual skill development. You will learn analog and digital processes from the history of the medium to its most contemporary practice to build a well-rounded foundation for your professional life in photography.

Our Photography program focuses on rigorous critical discussion, technical mastery and creative exploration supported by facilities, equipment and opportunities that promote and engage learning. Nearly 4000 square feet of photography facilities include digital labs, silver and non-silver darkrooms, a lighting studio and student exhibition space. You will experience print viewing and close interaction with the extensive photography collection, visiting artists and staff at the Sheldon Museum of Art adjacent to the Woods Art Building.

As a member of the UNL Fine Art Photography Club, a recognized student organization, you can participate in exhibitions, social events, field trips and travel to national and regional Society for Photographic Education conferences.


There are nearly 4,000 square feet of photography facilities, including:

  • 2 private graduate darkrooms with enlargers for printing negatives up to 4x5 inches
  • gang black and white darkroom with 8 Omega enlargers for printing negatives up to 4x5 inches
  • alternative process darkroom
  • film changing closets and film processing area
  • photography-only digital printing facility equipped with 5K Retina iMacs, film scanners, 3 Epson large-format printers up to 44 inches, and a large neutral color viewing station
  • lighting studio with Broncolor Senso A4 2400W/s kits
  • student exhibition space
  • classroom and critique space with a digital projector
  • large open lab area for finishing/framing work
  • small, medium, and large format cameras for student check-out
  • Hasselblad H4D-40 and H3D-31 digital cameras for advanced undergraduate and graduate student use
  • graduate studios
  • The School of Art, Art History & Design'sDigital Lab where students can check out equipment, reserves the studio and use large format scanners and printers


The Photography area offers a range of studio courses in darkroom and digital photography that focus on technical, conceptual and aesthetic aspects of the medium as well as photography theory, history, criticism and contemporary practice. These courses are designed to provide a foundation for independent artists who use photography as a medium of expression. As a studio art major with an emphasis in photography, you can take up to six regular courses in the area as well as special topics courses and independent study hours.

Photography lectures and exhibitions:

  • Lincoln PhotoFest is a biennial event that features photography exhibitions in multiple venues during the month of February. Participating venues typically include the Sheldon Museum of Art, Workspace Gallery, MEDICI Gallery, The Great Plains Art Museum, Tugboat Gallery and various alternative spaces and pop-up shows.
  • Nearby Workspace Gallery hosts six exhibitions of contemporary photography each year with artist or curator gallery talks for each opening reception.

UNL's graduate program offers:

  • Three-year, 60-credit MFA-Art
  • Graduate-only darkrooms and studio space
  • 24-hour access to all Photography facilities
  • Tuition fellowships
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships
  • School of Art, Art History & Design awards
  • Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts awards, presentation travel grants, study abroad grants and research grants
  • Studio critiques by visiting artists and scholars
  • Opportunities to work with faculty from multiple studio areas
  • Summer study abroad courses at the graduate level in London and Paris, Florence, Athens and Japan
  • Close proximity and dialog with MFA students in all studio areas and with MA students in Art History
  • Solo MFA thesis exhibitions
  • Opportunities to exhibit work in the many galleries and alternative spaces in Lincoln
  • A Residency Prize for one graduating student from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts' internationally renowned artist residency program

Recent graduate students in photography have received numerous competitive internal awards including full Graduate Teaching Assistantships that waive tuition and pay a stipend, various scholarships and fellowships including one with the University of Nebraska's Center for Great Plains studies, grants to support travel and creative work, and the Othmer Award (the largest financial award given to graduate students at Nebraska.) Their external recognition includes numerous national juried exhibitions and notable online publications and competitions, two Joy of Giving Something/Imagining America Fellowships, and regional and national Society for Photographic Education awards and invited presentations. UNL photography graduate students have had partial support to attend regional and national SPE conferences and other conferences related to their creative practice.

close inspection of prints at Sheldon Museum of Art
Close inspection of prints at Sheldon Museum of Art
16x16x16 exchange exhibition of Metropolitan Community College student work at UNL
16x16x16 exchange exhibition of Metropolitan Community College student work at UNL
gum bichromate demonstration by James Hajicek
Gum bichromate demonstration by James Hajicek
Photo Students
UNL Fine Art Photo Club members with a walk-in Brownie camera obscura at the Midwest Society for Photographic Education conference in Lincoln.